Bulletin Staff Report

It was pretty early in the season to be facing this kind of gantlet.

One night after falling in four sets against crosstown rival and 2018 Class 6A semifinalist Summit, Mountain View faced off Wednesday night with Sprague of Salem, last year’s 6A state runner-up.

The Cougars had their moments against the Olympians, but playing a second game in as many nights took a toll in a 3-0 Mountain Valley Conference defeat.

“It’s hard playing back-to-back nights against high-level opponents,” said Mountain View coach Kate Hunter. “You could see it in the girls tonight. But we’re not making excuses. We didn’t get the job done.”

Hunter explained that playing league matches on consecutive nights was the result of a shortage of volleyball officials that will affect other teams in the MVC throughout the season as well. It just happened that this back-to-back draw for the Cougars meant matches at Summit on Tuesday night (a hard-fought 25-11, 18-25, 25-21, 25-18 setback) and at home against Sprague just 24 hours later, when the Olys won 25-16, 25-10, 25-19 to move half a game in front of Summit and Bend High for the MVC lead at 3-0.

Senior Jasmine Martin, a 6-foot-3 force at the net for Mountain View (1-2 MVC), had 15 kills in Wednesday’s match on the heels of a 24-kill, 20-dig performance against Summit. Junior setter Brooke Olsen had 20 assists, two aces and 10 digs against Sprague, and she led the defensive effort against standout Olympians outside hitter Bridgette Smith.

It was Smith whose tough serving sealed the deal in the seesaw third game. Mountain View led 6-2, then trailed 15-9 before rallying back to a 15-15 tie. The score was then tied at each point until Sprague went up 20-19, then Smith launched a pair of aces to make it 22-19 and prompt Hunter to call a timeout. When play resumed, Smith served the final three points to close out the contest.

Celia Espinosa, the Cougars’ sophomore libero, had 10 digs and two service aces, one night after booking 20 digs in the Summit match.

“Our league is so incredibly competitive,” said Hunter after Wednesday’s match. “I tell the girls all the time that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I think we proved in the last two nights what we are capable of in this league.”

The Cougars play in a tournament at Lakeridge in Lake Oswego on Saturday. It’s back to league play next week with games Monday in Salem against McKay and Wednesday at home against Bend High.